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Robot Chicken

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Robot Chicken

Robot Chicken
Genre Sketch comedy, parody, black comedy
Created by
Voices of
Opening theme "Robot Chicken" by Les Claypool
Ending theme "The Gonk" by Herbert Chappell
Composer(s) Michael Suby
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 140 (and 8 specials) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Running time 11–12 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Cartoon Network
Release
Original channel Adult Swim
Picture format 4:3 SDTV (2005–09)
16:9 HDTV (2010–present)
Original release February 20, 2005 (2005-02-20) – present
External links
Website

Robot Chicken is an American stop motion adult animated sketch-comedy television series, created and executive produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich along with co-head writers Douglas Goldstein and Tom Root for Adult Swim. The writers, especially Green, also provide many of the voices. Senreich, Goldstein, and Root were formerly writers for the popular action figure hobbyist magazine ToyFare.[2] Robot Chicken has won an Annie Award and three Emmy Awards.[3][4]

Contents

  • Production history 1
  • Opening sequence 2
  • Recurring sketches 3
  • Episodes 4
  • Voice cast 5
    • Main cast 5.1
    • Celebrity guest stars 5.2
    • Other voice actors 5.3
  • Home releases 6
  • International 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Production history

Robot Chicken is based on "Twisted ToyFare Theater", a humorous photo comic-strip appearing in ToyFare: The Toy Magazine.[5] The show's name was inspired by a dish on the menu at a West Hollywood Chinese restaurant, Kung Pao Bistro, where Green and Senreich had dined; the series originally was intended to be called Junk in the Trunk.[6]

The show was created, written, and produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, and produced by Stoopid Buddy Stoodios (ShadowMachine Films Seasons 1-5) in association with Stoop!d Monkey, Williams Street, Sony Pictures Digital, and Sony Pictures Television. The series first appeared as Sweet J Presents on the Sony website Screenblast.com in 2001.[7] Sweet J Presents ended after 12 episodes and moved to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in 2005 as Robot Chicken, premiering on Sunday, February 20, 2005. In the first episode ("Conan's Big Fun"), Conan O'Brien was a featured character, voiced by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane (2005–present).[7][8]

The show mocks popular culture, referencing toys, movies, television, games, popular fads, and more obscure references like anime cartoons and older television programs, much in the same vein as comedy sketch shows like Saturday Night Live.[9] It employs stop motion animation of toys, action figures, claymation, and various other objects, such as tongue depressors, The Game of Life pegs, and popsicle sticks.[6]

One particular motif involves the idea of fantastical characters being placed in a more realistic world or situation (such as Mark Hamill (from a previous episode), Billy Dee Williams, and Ahmed Best.[10] The Star Wars episode was nominated for a 2008 Emmy Award as Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour).

The show airs in the United Kingdom and Ireland as part of FX's Adult Swim block, in Canada on Teletoon's TELETOON at Night block, in Australia on The Comedy Channel's Adult Swim block, in Russia on 2x2's Adult Swim block, in Germany on TNT Series' Adult Swim block, and in Latin America on the I.Sat Adult Swim block (after the Adult Swim block was cancelled from Cartoon Network Latin America in 2008). The show is rated TV-14 and TV-MA, and many of the sketches from Sweet J Presents were redone for Robot Chicken.[7]

The series was renewed for a 20-episode third season, which ran from August 1, 2007, to September 28, 2008.[7] After an eight-month hiatus during the third season, the show returned on August 31, 2008, to air the remaining 5 episodes.[7] The series was renewed for a fourth season which premiered on December 7, 2008, and ended September 20, 2009.[7] In early 2010, the show was renewed for a fifth and sixth season (40 more episodes total).[11] Season 5 premiered on December 12, 2010.[7] The second group of episodes began broadcasting on October 23, 2011. The 100th episode aired on January 15, 2012.[7] In May 2012, Adult Swim announced they were picking up a sixth season of Robot Chicken, which began airing in September 2012.[12] The seventh season premiered on April 13, 2014. The staff is currently writing Season 8, which is scheduled to premiere on October 25, 2015. [13]

Opening sequence

On a stormy night, a Les Claypool of Primus can be heard screaming "It's alive!" à la Frankenstein. Claypool also composed and performed the show's theme song. The mad scientist then straps the re-animated Robot Chicken into a chair, uses calipers to hold his eyes open, and forces him to watch a bank of television monitors (an allusion to A Clockwork Orange); this scene segues into the body of the show, which resembles someone frequently changing TV channels.

In the episode "1987", Michael Ian Black claims that this sequence tells the viewer that they (the audience) are the robot chicken(s), being forced to watch the skits. As a result, the show does not actually focus on the robot chicken until the 100th episode, when he finally makes his escape and later kills the mad scientist when he kidnaps his hen girlfriend.

Beginning in the sixth season, a new opening sequence has been featured with a role reversal. The chicken comes upon the body of the scientist, which has been decapitated. He decides to do to the scientist what the scientist did to him: add robotic parts to him, turn him into a cyborg, and give him a laser eye (although he gives the scientist a blue eye instead of a red one, which necessitates a change in the title's background color), then strap him to the same chair he was strapped to and force him to watch the same TV monitors while the chicken and his girlfriend share a kiss.[14]

Recurring sketches

The show features several recurring sketches. Some of the more predominant ones include:

  • DC Comics Parodies - Different parodies of characters from DC Comics.
  • The Nerd - The Nerd is an awkward middle school student with broken glasses who lisps.[15] Although his name was mentioned as "Gary" in an early episode, later episodes give his name as "Arthur Kensington, Jr." The Nerd imagines what it would be like to live in various well-known fantasy worlds.
  • Robot Chicken Has Been Cancelled - Four of the seven season finales of Robot Chicken perpetuated a running gag in which Mike Lazzo, the head of Adult Swim, announces that Robot Chicken has been cancelled.[15]
    • Robot Chicken Has Been Renewed - At the start of season premieres, there was a running gag of events of the previous Robot Chicken is cancelled season finale would be shown and shows Robot Chicken somehow getting renewed.
  • Strawberry Shortcake Parodies - Different parodies of Strawberry Shortcake which even featured characters exclusive to this show.
  • Star Trek Parodies - Different parodies of each of the Star Trek franchises.
  • Unsolved Casefiles - A parody of true crime shows like Unsolved Mysteries which feature investigation of crimes involving fictional characters such as the murders/deaths of Santa Claus or George Jetson. The sketch ends with a promo for the next episode.
  • Where Are They Now? - A sketch in which Michael Moore investigates past media celebrities (often stars of old television programs that produced toylines) who have fallen into obscurity.

Episodes

Voice cast

Main cast

Main and major recurring actors / writers are:

Celebrity guest stars

Among those celebrities that have contributed to this show are:

Other voice actors

Besides the celebrities above, many famous voice actors work on this series including:

Home releases

DVD title Release date Ep # Discs
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season One March 28, 2006 September 29, 2008 April 4, 2007 1–20 2
This two-disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 1 in production order. While it contains many sketches that were edited from the TV airings, several of the original Sony Screenblast webtoons, and the words "Jesus" and "Christ" as an oath unbleeped (though "fuck" and "shit" are still censored out), the episodes are not all uncut. One particular segment that featured the Teen Titans meeting Beavis and Butt-head was omitted from the DVD because of legal problems. The Voltron/You Got Served sketch shown on the DVD has a replacement song because of legal issues over the song that was used on the TV version. At a performance of Family Guy Live in Chicago, during the Q&A session that ends each performance, Seth Green was asked how they came up with the name Robot Chicken. He explained that the title of each episode was a name Adult Swim rejected for the name of the show. A Region 2 version of the set was released in the UK on September 29, 2008.[16] Three edited shorts from Sweet J Presents were included on the Robot Chicken Season 1 DVD boxset.[8]
Season Two September 4, 2007 September 28, 2009 November 11, 2007 21–40 2
This two-disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 2 in production order and uncensored, with the words "fuck" and "shit" uncensored (except for one instance in the episode "Easter Basket" in the Lego sketch). It is currently available for download on iTunes (though the episode "Veggies for Sloth" is absent because of copyright issues involving the "Archie's Final Destination" segment).[17] Seth Green stated at Comic-Con 2006 that the second DVD set will contain the "Beavis and Butt-head Meet the Teen Titans" sketch, which had been removed from the first DVD set because of copyright issues. However, the sketch is absent from the DVD (although it is available on iTunes). Bonus features include the Christmas special. A secret Nerf gun fight can be found on the disc 1 extras menu and pushing "up" over the extras and set-up items on the menu reveals more special features.
Star Wars Special July 22, 2008 August 11, 2008 August 6, 2008 1 1
This single DVD features the Star Wars special in its TV-edited version (i.e. with bleeps in place of profane words) and several extras about the crew and their work on the special, including a photo gallery, alternate audio, and an easter egg demonstrating the crew's difficulty in composing a proper musical score for the sketch "Empire on Ice". It also features various audio commentaries, featuring members of the cast and crew.
Season Three October 7, 2008 January 25, 2010 December 3, 2008 41–60 2
This two-disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 3 in production order. This DVD is uncensored, except for the "Cat in the Hat" sketch from episode 7 on Disc 1. It also intentionally censored in episode 5 in the "Law and Order" KFC sketch. This DVD has special features such as deleted scenes and animatics. It also includes commentary for all of the episodes and has "Chicken Nuggets" commentary for episodes 1 and 3–5. The bonus features also include a gag reel and audio takes.
Star Wars Episode II July 21, 2009 July 27, 2009 August 5, 2009 1 1
This single DVD features the main Star Wars special extras, including normal Robot Chicken episodes and common DVD extras; "The Making Of"; and deleted scenes.
Season Four December 15, 2009 August 30, 2010 December 2, 2009 61–80 2
This two disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 4 in production order. The special features include "Chicken Nuggets", San Diego Comic-Con '08 Panel, "Day in the Life", New York Comic-Con '09 Panel, video blogs, an Australia Visit, Alternate Audio, deleted scenes and deleted animations, and commentary on all 20 episodes.
Star Wars Episode III July 12, 2011 July 4, 2011 August 3, 2011 1 1
Interview with George Lucas, "Chicken Nuggets" (sketch by sketch video commentary), Behind the Scenes, Voice Recording Featurette, Star Wars Celebration V Robot Chicken Panel, Skywalker Ranch Premiere Trip, Writer’s Room Featurette, Deleted Animatics w/video intros, Audio Commentaries.
Season Five October 25, 2011 TBA November 30, 2011 81–100 2
This two-disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 5 in production order. Nine of the episodes were previously unaired before DVD release. The set includes commentary on all episodes, "Chicken Nuggets" on a few episodes, and a featurette on Episode 100. Deleted scenes and deleted animations are also included. Among the deleted scenes are the sketches "Beavis and Butthead Meet the Teen Titans" (deleted from Season One due to copyright issues) and the "Riverdale: Final Destination" sketch (deleted from Season 2 sets).
DC Comics Special July 9, 2013 TBA September 18, 2013 1 1
The Making of the RCDC Special, RCDC's Aquaman Origin Story, Chicken Nuggets, Writers' Commentary, Actors' Commentary, DC Entertainment Tour, Stoopid Alter Egos, Outtakes, Cut Sketches, 5.2 Questions.
Season Six October 8, 2013 TBA November 20, 2013 101–120 2
This two-disc boxset includes all 20 episodes from Season 6 in production order. Special features include commentary on every episode, deleted animatics, featurettes, deleted scenes, channel flips and "Chicken Nuggets".
Christmas Specials November 18, 2014 TBA TBA 6 1
This DVD contains 6
Season Seven July 21, 2015 TBA September 16, 2015 121-139 2
This two-disc boxset includes all 19 episodes from Season 7 in production order. Special features include commentary on every episode, a bonus Christmas special titled "Lots of Holidays but Don't Worry Christmas is Still in There Too so Pull the Stick Out of Your Ass Fox News Special" with commentary, featurettes and cut sketches.

Revolver Entertainment have released the first four seasons and all three Star Wars specials in the United Kingdom.[18] A box set including the first 3 seasons and a box set including all three Star Wars specials have also been released.[19]

Madman Entertainment has released all Robot Chicken seasons and specials to date in Australia and New Zealand.

International

  • Robot Chicken premiered in the United Kingdom and Ireland on Bravo as part of the Adult Swim programming block. The series, along with other Adult Swim shows, moved to FX and ran from 5 June 2010 to 27 November 2010. The block did not air in 2011, but returned in 2012 on TCM 2. The channel ceased broadcasting in 2013. Syfy currently airs the DC Comics and Star Wars specials. Adult Swim, along with Robot Chicken, will return to UK television starting with a new block on the FOX channel in the fall of 2015.
  • Robot Chicken premiered in Australia on The Comedy Channel on March 11, 2008, after the Group Programming Director Darren Chau secured The Comedy Channel as the Australian home of Adult Swim. The Comedy Channel brought both Seth Green and Matt Senreich to Australia to conduct a promotional tour to support the launch.[20]
  • Robot Chicken premiered in Portugal on the channel MOV in February 2013.
  • Robot Chicken premiered in Brazil on Adult Swim
  • Robot Chicken premiered in Germany on the pay TV channel Sat.1 Comedy on December 5, 2007 and on the free TV channel VIVA Germany in January 2014.
  • Robot Chicken premiered in the Netherlands on the channel Comedy Central Netherlands in February 2014.
  • In Canada, the series airs on Adult Swim Canada and Teletoon at Night, the nighttime programming block on Teletoon.

References

  1. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (December 2, 2011). Robot Chicken' Duo Launch Animation Studio: Seth Green and Matthew Senreich pact with Buddy Systems to create Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and will produce tribute episode to DC Comics universe."'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ "R.I.P. ToyFare Magazine 1997-2011". Actionfigures.about.com. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  3. ^ "Emmys – Robot Chicken". Emmys - Official website. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  4. ^ "Annie Awards: ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’ Wins 5 Including Feature, Robot Chicken ‘DC Comics Special’ TV, ‘Paperman’ Best Short Awards Winners 2013". Deadline. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  5. ^ "Before Robot Chicken: Twisted ToyFare Theatre Takes on DC Comics". Comicbook.com. 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  6. ^ a b "Video Games, Game Reviews & News". G4tv.com. 2005-02-16. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h The New York Times
  8. ^ a b Robot Chicken: Sweet J Presents (Summary)
  9. ^ a b "Seth Green Interview". askmen.com. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  10. ^ Mike Snider (June 13, 2007). "'Robot Chicken' digs its satirical talons into 'Star Wars'".  
  11. ^ "Robot Chicken Gets Unprecedented Two-Season, 40 Episode Pick-Up - TV Ratings, Nielsen Ratings, Television Show Ratings". TVbytheNumbers.com. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  12. ^ "Breaking News - "Robot Chicken" Season 6 Kicks Off on Sept 9th at Midnight!". TheFutonCritic.com. 2012-08-16. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  13. ^ "Robot Chicken Season 8 begins writing". League of Buddies. Stoopid Buddy Productions. 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Robot Chicken Opening - Robot Chicken - Adult Swim Video". Video.adultswim.com. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  15. ^ a b Seijas, Casey (2010-07-13). "'"Robot Chicken SDCC 2010 Exclusive 'Convention Nerd. UGO.com. Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  16. ^ "Robot Chicken - Season 1 Box Set (Region 2) (Pal): DVD". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  17. ^ "Robot Chicken - Season 2 Review". TVShowsOnDVD.com. 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  18. ^ "sitcomsondvd.co.uk". sitcomsondvd.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  19. ^ "sitcomsondvd.co.uk". sitcomsondvd.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  20. ^ "It's lights, camera, action figures". The Age (Melbourne). March 6, 2008. 

External links

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